Louise Calf, Jane Asher and Clive Francis
Jane is coming out this year.
This play is meant to be light entertainment and I found it very light indeed. The story was predictable and the dialogue seemed laboured. The Reluctant Debutante was written in 1955 and it is not a play that has aged well. However, the audience seemed to love the performance so I suspect I belong to the wrong generation.
Jane is coming out this year which means that she will be presented to the Queen and hopefully find her future husband along the way. Her parents have been busy taking her unwilling daughter to dinners and dances every night and are already sorely sleep deprived. Yet there are still three more weeks to Jane’s deb party. Jane’s father Jimmy asks, in a state of resignation: “How many nights of purgatory does this add up to?” Despite the desperate efforts of Jane’s mother Sheila to find her a husband Jane still prefers her horse Tommy to any of the young men she has met. This is bound to change when two different Davids pop up. Of course Sheila prefers the goofy David Bulloch as Jane’s prospective husband whereas Jane is far more interested in David Hoylake-Johnston, a handsome lad but unscrupulous philanderer – according to Sheila’s gossipy friend Mabel who is meanwhile trying to catch the goofy David for her own daughter Clarissa. Sadly for her, David Bulloch obviously prefers Jane.
There are some very funny lines in the play such as Jimmy’s remark regarding one of the party guests: “She looked like Groucho Marx tonight – only her moustache was darker.” Clive Francis completely inhabited his role as Jimmy and gave the best performance of the evening. There were also good performances by Belinda Lang as Mabel and Louise Calf as Jane. Alex Felton was very funny as the goofy David. The scene when he is proposing to Jane whilst wearing a red dress uniform with matching bright red ears is hilarious. Yet Jane Asher did not seem very comfortable as the feather brained mother. Perhaps she should have played her a bit more over the top – according to how Jane describes her: “In the city you go completely berserk- like a cow who smells blood.”
March 2010, 7.45 pm.
The Green, Richmond, Surrey